On calling, and the lost fairy-tale art of apprenticeship

All of my retreats and online courses, and much of my writing, in some way involve an exploration of the theme of ‘calling’. Calling is neither ‘fate’ nor ‘destiny’ and, to me, has little to do with the job you do — though it can have, of course, if you happen to fulfill whatever purpose you believe you have in life primarily through your occupation (this is arguably ‘vocation’, a subset of ‘calling’). But for many people, their sense of purpose is expressed in ways of being in the world rather than ways of doing.

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The lure of the woods

‘Now I am traversed by bridle paths, under the seal of sun and shade … I live in great density … Shelter lures me. I slump down into the thick foliage … In the forest, I am my entire self. Everything is possible in my heart just as it is in the hiding places in ravines. Thickly wooded distance separates me from moral codes and cities.’

René Ménard, ‘Le Livre des Arbres’, quoted & translated in Gaston Bachelard’s ‘The Poetics of Space’

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MythLines 3: This world, the Otherworld, and the anima mundi

Continuing on with republishing my series of ‘MythLines’ columns from EarthLines Magazine … here is my offering (slightly expanded for this blog) from Issue 16, in November 2016.

(Featured image by Martin Stranka)


 

I’ve spent a lot of years studying the psychology of myth. My personal perspectives can be reduced to this, in a slightly oversimplified nutshell: Sigmund Freud’s theories on anything – inevitably, interminably, explaining everything in sexual terms – rarely interest me much at all; Carl Jung is marvelous (an inexhaustible, treasure-filled, deep well) but often a little too human-centred for my tastes; archetypal psychologist James Hillman takes psychology and mythology out of our heads and back into the world again, and so is always to be revered. Read More

MythLines 2: Fox Fire

Continuing on with my series of ‘MythLines’ columns from EarthLines Magazine, here is my offering from Issue 14, in March 2016. This brief article on fox women in folklore was accompanied by an original short story of my own, and a beautiful poem from Theodora Goss. Read More